With his team trailing by two sets in Friday night’s matchup against South Florida, coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam needed to do something to put the Owls in position to make a comeback.
Ganesharatnam decided to change the lineup to start the third set of Temple’s 3-0 loss to the Bulls at McGonigle Hall.
“We just wanted to get some consistency,” Ganesharatnam said. “We were very inconsistent throughout the match with serve and receive and controlling the ball.”
He moved junior outside hitter Dara Peric to Libero to replace sophomore Mia Heirakuji and started junior middle blocker Janine Simmons and sophomore outside hitter Caroline Grattan.
With the new lineup, the Owls quickly jumped off to a 2-1 lead and tried not to look back. The play from Simmons gave Temple a spark and also brought the crowd, who had been quieted in the first two sets, back into the game.
The Owls took the momentum back. The Temple band and fans battled the South Florida bench and reminded them that they were in Philadelphia. Temple traded points with the Bulls but always kept the lead. It was Temple’s chance to steal the show, but then the momentum halted.
As sophomore Iva Deak went back to serve, the game stopped. Apparently, the official did not notice that there was a new libero in and had to stop the game. The long stoppage of play killed Temple’s momentum.
A stoppage of play has shown to be a killer of momentum. Most notably, Super Bowl XLVII. The Baltimore Ravens were beating the San Francisco 49ers 28-6. After the 34 minute power outage, the game resumed and the Ravens barely hung on to win as the 49ers rallied to come within three points. In Temple’s case, they’re the 49ers.
The game delay effected the team way more than they thought. As the game resumed, South Florida came back tying the game at 22. The Bulls eventually took the lead then traded points back in forth with Temple until they won the set 28-26, clinching the match, and giving Temple its second conference loss of the season.
Temple plays Central Florida at 1 p.m. on Sunday at McGonigle Hall. Both teams sit tied for third after Friday’s games.
“We are always very pumped up to play them,” Peric said “because ever since I was a freshman, they’ve been the best team in the conference basically, so we never lack any motivation. We will come out with a lot of energy especially after this loss, so we can get back on track.”